Market research is the systematic process of gathering information about market needs and preferences. The long-term success of a company depends on the ability to align products and services with the prevailing market needs. Successful marketers monitor potential and actual customers to identify the dynamics in needs and preferences. All marketers desire to grow the market share which necessitates implementation of strategies that seek to acquire new customers and retain the existing ones. Market research helps businesses to know the exact customer expectations that form a basis for strategy implementation.
Types of Market Research
There two types of market research namely primary research and secondary research. Both types play an important role in market research and marketers should consider trying them depending on the prevailing conditions.
Primary market research
This research involves collecting first-hand market data. Methods such as interviews focus groups, and online surveys are employed to capture customer expectations. Primary market research is essential when the existing secondary sources are not reliable especially when a new product is involved.
Secondary market research
This approach to market research involves scanning the available resources aimed at identifying useful sources containing relevant market data. The internet provides valuable market information which has increased the role of secondary research in today’s marketing environment. Secondary research is fast and less costly compared to primary research. However, primary research provides specific facts that are in line with the organisational information needs.
Market Research Process
Market research is a five-stage process that enables a firm to gather value-unlocking market intelligence. The main stages include:
- Research goals setting– at this stage the research purpose is determined. Market research goals stem from marketing environment implying that scanning the market is a necessity. Research involves identifying how best to meet customer expectations aimed at gaining a competitive advantage.
- Research design– this stage is concerned with identifying data gathering methods. A decision of whether to use primary or secondary research is made and the sampling method determined.
- Preparing research resources/ instruments– resources needed to carry out the research are obtained and prepared ready for the research.
- Data collection– at this stage data is collected and recorded while emphasising on data quality.
- Data analysis– the analysis involves manipulating data to to create information relevant to the user.
- Results Communication– the last stage of market research is communicating the result to the users who use it to make decisions.